The Creator and Rebel Man

José Clemente Orozco1935/1937

MUSA Museo de las Artes de la Universidad de Guadalajara

MUSA Museo de las Artes de la Universidad de Guadalajara
Guadalajara, Mexico

The rebel and creator man is the mural segment that José Clemente Orozco made on the dome of the Auditorium (Paraninfo) Enrique Díaz de León in the Museum of the Arts of the University of Guadalajara (Museo de las Artes de la Universidad de Guadalajara). Orozco used the fresco technique involving the use of mineral pigments applied to a moistened lime and sand plaster. He worked with a mixture of a ratio of two parts of river sand to one and a half of quicklime in stone. Because the painting surface dries quickly, only the portion of a wall that could be finished on the same day is prepared. Pictorial spaces were thus divided into areas known as giornata (work day) or task. This technique requires great care in the way materials are handled due to possible chemical reactions. Strokes and proportions had to be executed with precision, as they cannot be corrected.

Initially, the painter envisioned the dome as the stage of a combat where flying beings fought to dominate the architectural space among quarrels and falls. From these first sketches, the image of the rebel was maintained, with his descending attitude, a part of the preliminary concept. Afterwards, Orozco decided to replace the floating beings with men, who appeared gathered around the lantern*, whether sitting or bent down. Among the new characters, two began to display the features and poses that identify them to this day: the teacher and the worker.

In the previous sketches, the teacher appears sitting down waist up. His right arm stands high as a sign of guidance and instruction, while the left arm serves to hold a book and shelter a group of small students that later disappear to give in to the subtle gesture of rescue that fuses together the teacher’s hand with the rebel’s hand that falls into the void.
From the first sketches, the worker rises with magnificent presence. This colossus experienced few variations when he was recorded on the mural. The most evident is that the controls of an aggressive and fantastic machine were left under his command.

The wise man or scientist emerges from the sketches with three faces. A couple of faces were added to the fresco that turned him into the formidable five-faced man that evokes intellect’s infinite regions with his multiple looks.

The author displays his great skill and anatomical knowledge with the depiction of the hands and other parts of the human body.

Show lessRead more
  • Title: The Creator and Rebel Man
  • Creator: José Clemente Orozco
  • Date Created: 1935/1937
  • Physical Dimensions: 13.70 x 5.50 m
  • Type: Mural painting
  • Medium: Fresco
  • Art Movement: Arte moderno
  • Support: Clay in dome